Only one in five Kiwis invest. Most don't because it is too risky, they don't feel knowledgeable about it, or they think you need heaps of money.
It doesn't help when there are headlines of people predicting a market crash. Humans don't like losing things. Especially not money. Yesterday there was an article about Robert Kiyosaki (from 'Rich Dad Poor Dad' fame) predicting another market crash. This isn't the first time he has made this claim.
He literally made the same headlines in 2015.
In fact, he's part of a swathe of people who have made similar claims and received similar headlines since 2011.
The reality is if you say this type of thing often enough, at some stage you'll get it right - and everyone will forget the times you got it wrong. Then, in hindsight, it looks as though you knew all the time.
The market goes up and down regularly, and this is just how markets behave—it has proven very difficult to try and pick when that happens. And it really shouldn't matter, even if you started buying shares on the highest day before the Global Financial Crisis (2008 market crash), a few years on you would be feeling very happy with yourself if you had stuck to it.
Comments like those of Kiyosaki can often put people off getting started with investing, but trying to pick these ups and downs and removing all of your money (or not investing in the first place) could result in missing out on some great upsides.
For example, if you had sold your US500 (US company shares) investments when Kiyosaki spoke about this in 2015, you would have missed out on the 12 per cent increase in 2016 and the 21 per cent increase in 2017! And if it put you off investing altogether, you could have missed out on the gains that happened during that time. For example, if you had invested $50 a week in US500 shares over the last two years, instead of a bank account (or Gold for that matter), you'd be more than $1000 better off today.
We always hear people talking about "if only I had bought five years ago when it was cheap". In five years' time, we could be patting ourselves on the back for a job well done if we choose to buy into investments, rather than buying into the fear that is leaving the share market upsides to the 20 per cent of New Zealanders who invest in the stock market.
One thing we do agree with is that there is a massive gap in financial confidence, and this needs to change. Sharing knowledge when it comes to managing money will help change this as lack of knowledge is one of the biggest reasons people don't invest.
Understanding risk and volatility is one of these knowledge gaps. Many of us confuse
ups and downs in the stock market with right and wrong and think that the market going down is risky, and if it goes up you're a genius.
It isn't risky just because a share goes down – there are many other factors that may contribute – and diversifying by owning many shares can help balance this. Getting to the top of a mountain can involve a few crevasses. It doesn't mean you're going the wrong way; it's just part of the journey.
What is exciting to see is technology is enabling the ability to help bridge the gaps in this knowledge as well as making it possible to start investing with much lower amounts of money, creating a new world of opportunities for people who had previously been restricted to bank savings accounts.
Leighton Roberts, co-founder of online trading platform Sharesies.